One of the best-loved events in the design industry calendar, Clerkenwell Design Week is a three-day annual festival gathering Clerkenwell’s long-established design community together. Now in its fifth year, the event has increasingly become a must go-to showcase for the UK and international design community. Last year’s show attracted over 50,000 registered attendees and 250 brands from the UK and across the globe.
CDW is one of the most acclaimed trade events on the international design calendar, winning Best Live Event at the AEO Awards and Best Festival and Best Cultural Event at the UK Event Awards to attest to its success. Boasting over 60 showrooms, a wealth of creative businesses and more architects per square mile than anywhere else on the planet, CDW takes advantage of this creative hub every May for three spectacular days. Opening today, Clerkenwell Design Week (CDW) will return for its fifth year in 2014, having achieved record success last May.
For 2014, the traditional structure of the three-day festival has been re-curated into four focused exhibitions, housed in Clerkenwell’s most historic buildings. The Design Factory will present high-profile international brands in the Farmiloe Building; Detail will show high-end interiors and decoration in the majestic Priory Church at the Order of St John, and Platform will showcase talented up-and-coming designers in the subterranean Victorian prison at The House of Detention. A new section, Additions will take over the Crypt on the Green at St. James Church, exhibiting small design pieces and accessories.
The top things to head for this year include Russ + Henshaw collaboration with Turkishceramics to showcase their creative exploration into inner-city architecture. The design duo have taken over St John’s Gate with the fruits of their mathematical and academic investigations with mind-provoking, psychedelic patterns with parallel mirrors to make them go on for what seems like forever… and ever…. and ever.
Every year, CDW showcases a surprising gem and this year it's a pavilion from architectural aces Studio Weave, which will stand pride of place opposite St John’s Gate. The structure has been designed to host ‘artisan workers’ and to celebrate Clerkenwell’s long history of designer-makers.
Next up is Gresham's The '4 Ps' and their celebration of products, pizza, Peroni and prosecco. Gresham is a design company that deal in the ‘working office environment’ and so head down to make a pizza and prosecco toast to the ultimate spinny chair.
The Clerkenwell Collection is an experiential retail and event space that will look to create an environment of inspiration and discovery. The space will be hosting an exciting session featuring the brains behind Secret Productions - the company behind multi-arts festival Secret Garden Party and Wilderness. As proud hosts of the British furniture house Tree Couture, The Clerkenwell Collection also invites you to visit their showroom and explore a beautiful collection of handcrafted solid hardwood pieces. Celebrating the solidity and intricacy of fine antiques but with a contemporary sensibility, designer-maker Troo Heath-Crew creates each piece exclusively from well-managed, sustainable forests. The Clerkenwell Collection will also host British designer Alexandra Llewellyn, who creates joyful bespoke backgammon and cards tables, made to order in any woods with each piece including delightful semi-precious stone and brass playing pieces. Her 'Louisa' table will be on display in The Clerkenwell Collection. During Clerkenwell Design Week daily afternoon and evening talks that will feature an array of names at The Clerkenwell Collection, with art and light installations on display. There will also be food and wine pairing experiences from chef Mark Hix taking place throughout each day.
Alongside four central venues, CDW’s showroom partners, integral to the festival, will once more open their doors to the public; showrooms, studios and galleries will showcase the most innovative projects in architecture and design, whilst bringing the festival together by curating a series of talks, seminars and workshops with leading industry specialists.
Growing year-on-year, 2013 saw over 250 design brands exhibit across a series of pop-up exhibitions and open showrooms within the square mile of central Clerkenwell, from Erwan Bouroullec and Patricia Urquiola, to Giulio Cappellini and Ross Lovegrove.
The name Clerkenwell comes from the Clerks’ Well in Farringdon Lane, where London parish clerks performed the famous Medieval Mystery Plays throughout the Middle Ages. Since the Industrial Revolution, the area has housed craft workshops, printers, clockmakers and jewellers. Traditional crafts, such as printing and bookbinding still flourish, as do graphic designers.
In the last two decades, Clerkenwell’s unique variety buildings have been transformed into central studio and workshop spaces, attracting an unprecedented concentration of architectural, design and creative practices. The global businesses that have made Clerkenwell their home have shaped the borough into the UK’s most important generator of creativity and innovation. Serving an infinite variety of other industries easily accessible from across London, Clerkenwell has become home to a plethora of new media agencies, graphic and interactive design studios and more than 200 architectural practices - more per square mile than anywhere else on the planet. In addition, Clerkenwell houses over 60 design showrooms including world leaders Vitra, Poltrona Frau, Knoll and Steelcase.
Clerkenwell Design Week runs from 20 - 22 May 2014 at various Clerkenwell locations; clerkenwelldesignweek.com